Posts tagged ‘Moreland Council’

Meeting with Moreland Councillors to discuss Zero Carbon Moreland plan

Zero-carbon-Moreland-coverAs many of you may be aware City of Moreland’s strategy for reducing emissions in the municipality by 22 per cent by 2020 was launched last year – See my report of the launch.

Councillors Lenka Thompson and Samantha Ratnam invite residents to their Ward meeting on Tuesday the 21st April 2015 7pm at Coburg Library meeting room (corner Victoria and Louisa Streets) to discuss Council’s plan to make the Moreland community carbon neutral through the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy.

When: 7pm, Tuesday 21 April 2015
Where: Coburg Library Meeting Room, Corner Victoria and Louisa Streets, Coburg.

Come along to hear Paul Murfitt, CEO from The Moreland Energy Foundation, and discuss how we can work together to combat climate change. Some members of Climate Action Moreland will also be attending too.

You can download and read City of Moreland’s plan: Zero Carbon Evolution (PDF).

April 16, 2015 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Community Discussion paper released on Council Divestment from Fossil Fuels

20150213-Global-divestment-Day-Rob-McCreath
In conjunction with City of Moreland Council proceeding with a divestment process, Climate Action Moreland and 350.org have also written a joint discussion paper. We hope this provides useful independent information for council officers and Councillors to consider in moving the divestment process forward.

The summary of the paper states:

This report presents research undertaken since October last year by 350.org and Climate Action Moreland after the City of Moreland’s historic decision to commit to divesting from fossil fuels.
The major discussion points covered include:

  • Moreland’s action is in line with progressive local governments around Australia and the world.
  • For implementing fossil fuel divestment the publicly available research of the Market Forces organisation is sufficiently robust – and does not impose significant risks on the council – when used for the purpose of determining whether a financial institution finances fossil fuel developments.
  • There is significant existing opportunity to shift council’s term deposit investments under current risk management guidelines to have a much greater proportion of invested funds held by institutions that do not invest in fossil fuels.
  • Moreland council’s current investment policies for term deposits vary from other Victorian councils. As part of developing a fossil fuel divestment strategy they should be examined and justified to ensure they are not unnecessarily blocking fossil fuel divestment.

Download and read the discussion paper: City of Moreland Fossil Fuel Divestment Discussion Paper: 20150212 City of Moreland Divestment Discussion Paper

Many members of the Moreland community are proud that Moreland Council is one of the first municipal councils in Australia to start this divestment process and it accords well with the strong progessive leadership shown tackling greenhouse emissions with the launch of the Zero Carbon Moreland plan, increasing heatwave response, and mitigating urban heat island increased temperatures through increasing the urban tree canopy and other policies.
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February 13, 2015 at 1:39 am 4 comments

Process of fossil fuel divestment continues for Moreland Council

Climate Action Moreland member Bronwyn Plarre taking action during a Divestment Day

Climate Action Moreland member Bronwyn Plarre taking action during a Divestment Day

On Wednesday evening (11 February 2015) Moreland Council received a report prepared by Council officers providing analysis of fossil fuel divestment and options for Council to proceed.

The Report and recommendations were a result of an in principle decision by Council on divestment at the October 2014 meeting, the culmination of a year long grassroots campaign by Climate Action Moreland and 350.org Australia.

Councillor Bolton moved an amendment to include both positive and negative filters and for a draft of the policy to be issued for community consultation. The Amendment was defeated.

The recommendations were then put to the meeting and overwhelmingly passed.

The motion read:

Council resolves to:

  1. Note that Council has no direct investments in companies that invest in fossil fuel projects, which is a key point of difference with the other organisations that have recently committed to a divestment strategy.
  2. Adopt a positive screening approach for Council’s investment with financial institutions:
    1. Actively invest with fossil free financial institutions within the Moreland City Council Investment Policy parameters;
    2. Advocate for fossil free financial institutions to improve their credit rating and financial rate of return;
    3. Work with large banks to improve their CSR and fossil free performance.
  3. Develop a Fossil Fuel Divestment Strategy based on the positive screening approach by June 2015 that will include the following:
    1. A summary of Council’s investments, financial services arrangements and loans.
    2. Strategies, actions, parameters and timelines of the best options to move Council’s investments to financial institutions that do not finance fossil fuel projects.
    3. A framework to maintain ongoing reporting and review of council’s banking to minimise indirect financing of fossil fuel projects and maintain public confidence that council is keeping its commitments.

You can read the full report as extracted from Moreland Council agenda for 11 February 2015: 20150211-DCS715-Fossil-Fuel-Divestment-options report and recommendation.

Our intrepid reporter John Englart reported the debate live via twitter:

February 13, 2015 at 1:33 am 1 comment

Moreland Council increases Heatwave response strategy

Days over 35 degrees C for Melbourne
As well as taking the lead with fossil fuel divestment, the other important climate change related item at Moreland Council meeting on 8 October 2014 was a tabling of a report on heatwave strategies including the feasability of council heatwave refuges. The report was initiated as a result of a resolution moved by Cr Bolton at the Council meeting in February 2014 (See my report: Moreland Council calls for greater heatwave emergency planning for Victoria).

Council Officers employed an outside consultant to prepare a discussion paper: Potential Risks and benefits of Different Responses to Heatwaves. The discussion paper was then used to write up a report with recommendations to Council.
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October 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm 10 comments

City of Moreland an Australian climate leader in decision to divest

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Tonight the City of Moreland has become the first council in Victoria to rule out direct investments in fossil fuels and the first council in Australia to start developing a strategy to move investments away from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel developments.

Moreland joins around 30 cities internationally which have made similar commitments, including Seattle, Dunedin, and Oxford.

It follows recent announcements from Industry superannuation funds HESTA and Local Government Super, statements from ANU and Sydney universities restricting coal investments, and decision by the Uniting Church in Australia and the Perth Anglican diocese to divest from high carbon fossil fuel and mining investments.

Local residents from Climate Action Moreland and 350.org were thrilled with the result at the council meeting, that Moreland Council is an Australian leader in climate action. This follows the launch of Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution program last Saturday to reduce community emissions by 22 per cent by 2020.

Over 1000 residents had signed a petition for the City of Moreland to make this decision to divest. The campaign also entailed a public meeting that attracted over 100 people on a cold and wet winter night, and outreach to residents and all councillors for this result to occurr.

Council motion on Fossil Fuel Divestment

Councillor Item – Proposed by Crs Samantha Ratnam, Lenka Thompson and Sue Bolton

In moving the motion Cr Thompson outlined the following, according to the minutes of the meeting:

Cr L Thompson advised Council that as part of its work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reflect its values in all areas it works in, the City of Moreland will seek to ensure that it is not investing money in ways that may directly or indirectly contribute to climate change. The City of Moreland commits to divest itself from the Fossil Fuel industry.

As well as avoiding direct investment in the fossil fuel industry, Moreland also recognises the role of many banks in financing new Fossil-fuel projects in Australia. For this reason the City of Moreland will work to change its banking practices to both minimise indirect investment in fossil fuels, and (where consistent with prudent financial management), direct other banking activities to institutions that do not fund fossil fuel investments.

Background: As part of its work to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and reflect its values in all areas it works in, the City of Moreland will seek to ensure that it is not investing money in ways that may directly or indirectly contribute to Climate change. The City of Moreland commits to divest itself from the Fossil Fuel industry. As well as avoiding direct investment in the fossil fuel industry, Moreland also recognises the role of many banks in financing new Fossil-fuel projects in Australia. For this reason the City of Moreland will work to change its banking practices to both minimise indirect investment in fossil fuels, and (where consistent with prudent financial management) direct other banking activities to institutions that do not fund fossil fuel investments.

Resolution:
It is resolved that the City of Moreland:
1) Commits to not directly invest in any company for whom the extraction, production, refining, or distribution of fossil fuels forms a core part of their business strategy, nor in any company whose principal business involves providing infrastructure or services to companies previously mentioned.
2) Affirms its decision to limit the current financial services contract to three years and deny any automatic renewals to the present provider (the Commonwealth Bank) if it has not divested from Fossil Fuels at the expiry of the initial three year term.
3) That council receives a report by 28 February 2015 on:
a) fossil fuel divestment options
b) analysis on fossil fuel free investments available to council
c) Options and implications of divestment from fossil fuel
4) That the information generated in the report in point 3 (and pending consideration of the options and implications report by Councillors) be used to develop a fossil fuel divestment strategy by June 2015 that will include the following:
a) A summary of Council’s investments, financial services arrangements and loans
b) Strategies, actions and timelines of the best options to move council’s investments to financial institutions that do not finance fossil fuel projects
c) A framework to maintain ongoing reporting and review of council’s banking to minimise indirect financing of fossil fuel projects and maintain public confidence that council is keeping its commitments.

The motion was Carried 6/3
A Division was called and this is how our Councillors voted:

Councillors For:

Cr Lenka Thompson
Cr Lita Gillies
Cr Sam Ratnam
Cr Helen Davidson
Cr Oscar Yildiz
Cr Sue Bolton

Councillors Against:

Cr John Kavanagh
Cr Rob Thompson
Deputy Mayor Meghan Hopper

Absent for vote:

Mayor Lambros Tapinos
Cr Michael Teti


Cr Sue Bolton explained the decision on Facebook the next day:

Last night’s council meeting took another step towards divesting from fossil fuel. There will be another two votes by council (February and June) before we can say that Moreland council has really divested from fossil fuel. Last night’s vote took us another step towards this goal. Six councillors voted in favour (myself, Lenka Thompson, Sam Ratnam, Lita Gillies, Helen Davidson and Oscar Yildiz). Three councillors voted against divestment (Meghan Hopper, John Kavanagh, Rob Thompson).

 

October 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm 7 comments

Moreland Council plan to cut community emissions 22 per cent by 2020

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At the Coburg Carnivale, the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy plan was launched by Moreland Council Mayor Cr Lambros Tapinos, Wills Federal MP Kelvin Thomson and Brunswick State MP Jane Garrett. The strategy aims for community greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 22 per cent by 2020.

Cr Lambros Tapinos formally launched the plan saying:

“Zero Carbon evolution is a practical plan for how the Moreland Community can reduce our carbon emissions by 22 per cent by the year 2020. It was developed in a partnership between Council and Moreland Energy Foundation. If we can achieve the ambitious goals set out in this strategy the Moreland community will well and truly be on track to become a zero carbon city and do our fair share to respond to the challenges of climate change.

“Council has a proud history of action on climate change and has achieved carbon neutral status for our own corporate operations. We have done this since 2012. The Moreland Energy Foundation has over 13 years of experience at working with the Moreland Community to reduce carbon emissions. Zero Carbon Evolution signals a new era in community action on climate change in Moreland. Council and MEFL working in partnership are committed to work to support and assist the community in reducing their carbon footprint.

“I encourage each and every one of you to consider what you can do to play a part in creating a zero carbon city here in Moreland. Maybe it is putting solar panels on your roof, insulating your home or choosing to replace some short car trips with either walking or cycling, but we can all do our bit.”

Watch the speech of Cr Lambros Tapinos:

Also speaking after Cr Tapinos was Federal MP for Wills Kelvin Thomson who brought some international dimension to the subject saying the real significance at the UN Climate summit wasn’t the absence of the Prime Minister but the negotiations and statements from US President Barack Obama and the high level Chinese delegation on climate action.
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October 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm 8 comments

Moreland increasing tree canopy to combat Urban Heat island Effect

PascoeVale-extreme-heat-streetscape
Moreland Council at it’s September 2014 Council meeting adopted a report on increasing vegetation tree canopy and resolved “to support and fund current initiatives aligned with the management of climate change and the Urban Heat Island Effect.”

The Council report – DCI70/14 REVIEW OF TREE COVER IN MORELAND AND HEAT ISLAND EFFECT (D14/225415) (full text below) – was prepared for the Director of City Infrastructure as a result of a motion by Cr Davidson (full text below) at the July council meeting. It outlines that Council will plant 5,000 trees annually as part of the Moreland Street Landscape Strategy (see Street Trees on Council Website) with the biggest tree suited to an area to be planted to increase canopy coverage. The goal is to plant 30,000 trees across the municipality by 2020.
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September 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm 8 comments

Progress on Moreland Council Divestment

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We are very excited to share the news that a draft divestment motion is presently being circulated amongst the councillors. It’s critical at this point in time that they know there is community support for the initiative. We have three councillors who have publicly declared support for divestment (L Thompson, S Bolton & S Ratnam). We need six votes to pass – but we want all the councillors to embrace and back the motion.

Our petition is nearing 1000 signatures but showing there’s even greater enthusiasm is important – we need your help to get this historic motion over the line! For those in Moreland, if you could take the time to contact your Councillors to let them know you support divestment, it could be the difference. For those outside Moreland please write to the councillors as well – most of you signed this petition when you were in Moreland to shop, party or visit friends/family, so you are part of our community. You can inform the councillors of your support in a variety of ways.

Use the sample text provided below or your own inspiration to write them an email.

Call/text the councillors directly

Post on the Councillor’s public facebook pages (for those that have them – see below)

Send them a tweet supporting divestment (for those on twitter – see below)

In our discussions with councillors so far, none have ruled out supporting a divestment motion – it’s important we keep all our comments positive and give councillors the encouragement they need.

Here are the contact details of the Councillors – please let them know you support divestment and they should – you can also let the three who have publicly supported divestment know that they have your support.
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August 30, 2014 at 2:27 am 2 comments

Protest 13 August: Reverse the Moreland Council climate mitigation budget cut

20140813-placard

Update: 
Thank you every one for coming along to the Council meeting tonight and for writing and emailing Councillors. We had about 26 people there. I thought the protest was a worthwhile statement to Council. Did we achieve what we wanted? In practice yes – the 3 solar PV projects the money was allocated for will all proceed through the tender process, where as that wasn’t guaranteed before tonight. But we didn’t get a reversal of the original decision. So Council is committed to these projects and will do any necessary budget adjustment at midyear budget review after the tender process is finished. A face-saving compromise, but one that ensures in practice Council’s continuing commitment to climate mitigation.
See photos at the bottom of this page.
John Englart

The Council motion, moved by Cr Lenka Thompson seconded by Samantha Ratnam, passed unanimously, stated:

Council resolves:

  1. To support the Carbon Management Strategy and reaffirms its commitment to taking action on climate change

  2. To proceed with all the projects as proposed in the original draft council budget for 2014/15 as detailed in the council agenda for July 2014 budget for the Carbon Management Strategy (originally valued at $525,000 budget allocation)

  3. Officers to report back by the November meeting outlining how all these projects will be funded to completion without compromising other environmental projects and initiatives

This is a substantial win on maintaining Moreland Council’s commitment and leadership on climate mitigation.

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August 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm 1 comment

Residents angry at Council cuts to climate mitigation budget

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A meeting of Moreland residents on Thursday evening called on Moreland Councillors to reinstate full budget funding for the Carbon Management Strategy and reverse a decision taken last month. The meeting also decided to protest Council’s budget decision at the next Council meeting in Glenroy on Wednesday 13th August.

The Empowering Moreland forum organised by Climate Action Moreland and 350Australia (Melbourne) attracted more than 100 people to venture out on a cold Melbourne winter night to discuss strategies for taking action on climate change both individually and collectively.

Details on the work of Climate Action Moreland was given in a presentation by Andrea Bunting from the group. This highlighted both the progess being made at the local level with Moreland Council in their commitment to action on climate change, although not without some recent blemish with a poorly thought decision on 9th July to cut $100,000 from the carbon management strategy budget. Climate Action Moreland and Sustainable Fawkner issued a statement requesting reversal of this decision.

There was a notable sound of anger and frustration at the budget cut when it was talked about in Andrea’s presentation. Andrea’s long talk was followed by a detailed presentation by John Knox and Isabella from 350.org Melbourne which focussed on the basic climate maths articulated in a 2012 Bill McKibben article in Rolling Stone, followed by divestment strategies to change corporate investment out of fossil fuels through challenging banks and superannuation funds to divest.

There is more than five times the amount of fossil fuel reserves that can be burnt for a reasonable chance of staying under 2 degrees C of warming. In fact, with release of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost there is almost certainly even less carbon budget for us to use. Moreland resident and climate author David Spratt argues we have already used up all of our allowable carbon budget.

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Either way, we have a huge carbon bubble which will engender stranded assets. And still we have Federal and State Governments approving fossil fuel developments like the Carmichael mine in the Galilee basin in Queensland, which is estimated could account for 4% of global emissions by 2050 adding 0.011-0.027C to global warming according to scientists. If all five proposed coal mine developments in the Galilee basin go ahead, this could amount to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But if the major banks can be persuaded not to finance the port and rail infrastructure of these projects, they will not go ahead. Already at current international coal prices they are uneconomic to develop. Adani, the primary developer of the Carmichael mine, was recently awarded “Stranded Asset” award for 3rd most unburnable coal in the world.

There is another divestment day coming up on October 18 to enable people to publicly demonstrate to their financial institutions personal divestment as a result of the unethical and unsustainable investment practices being engaged in.

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Residents want funding for Council solar PV systems reinstated

At the end of these presentations people from the floor were keen for some action or motion requesting council to reverse it’s 9th July decision to cut $100,000 from the $525,000 carbon management budget.

The budget was for purchase and installation of three projects totalling approximately 150 kW solar PV systems equating to $41,000 savings on utility bills and 250 t CO2e reduction, now being compromised by the loss of one of these projects (45 kW system) – probably the one for the Coburg Leisure Centre.

The first Motion was proposed by John Englart with an amendment from the floor accepted, seconded by Greg Platt:

“This Meeting of Moreland residents calls on Moreland Council to reinstate full budget funding for the Carbon Management Strategy this financial year with no reduction from other environmental budget areas.”

The second motion proposed a protest outside the next Council meeting at Glenroy.

“This meeting endorses a protest outside the next Council meeting at Glenroy over funding cuts to the Carbon Management Strategy.”

Both motions were put to the meeting by Master of Ceremonies Paul Murfitt from Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd and passed without dissent.

The meeting also heard briefly from Kirsten Wood on ‘Zero Carbon Evolution’, Moreland Council’s new climate action plan that maps out an ambitous plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the Moreland community. (See More information and download the documents from Council’s website)

The meeting was also treated by Judy Brett, a retired Professor of Politics, to a preview launch of the Monster Climate petition (See website once launched) being organised by the Victorian Women’s Trust – a monster paper petition that will be presented to Federal Parliament. The petition is in the groundbreaking tradition of the 1891 Victorian Women’s Suffrage Petition which contained over 30,000 signatures which demanded the right for women to vote in the colony of Victoria.

After all the formalities of the meeting there was opportunity for informal talking and networking over a hot cuppa tea and some fabulous cakes and vanilla slices generously donated by Ferguson Plarre Bakery.

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August 8, 2014 at 3:01 am 2 comments

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